I miss you tons even though I just saw you on Thursday. Last week you sang in your 1st grade rendition of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
All the kids were dressed up as little Whos including you. It was super dark, so I was unable to get any usable pictures, but you looked super cute.
Anyway, today I want to share a story with you, and I did not learn this lesson till I was in my early 30s. Probably not until you were born. Basically I spent my whole life trying to not have conflict or make people mad at me. I always wanted to say just the right thing to everyone to be liked, and respected, and for people to think I was smart.
That isn’t to say I didn’t say or do the wrong things from time to time, because I certainly did. And I always had an independent streak that ruffled other people’s feathers, but my internal dialogue centered around not causing conflict.
And then I learned the lesson I want to share with you today. First, the story and then some commentary from me.
There was an old man, a boy and a donkey. They were going to town and it was decided that the boy should ride.
As they went along they passed some people who thought that it was a shame for the boy to ride and the old man to walk. The old man and boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they changed positions.
Later, they passed some more people who thought that it was a real shame for that man to make such a small boy walk. The two decided that maybe they should both walk.
Soon they passed some people who thought that it was stupid to walk when they had a donkey to ride. The man and the boy decided maybe the best thing would be for them both to ride the donkey.
Soon, they passed a group who thought that it was a shame to put such a load on a poor helpless animal. The old man and the boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they decided to carry the donkey.
As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.
The moral of the story:Unknown
If you try to please everyone, you will eventually lose your ass.
Now, at first glance, this may seem like just a funny story, but the real world works the same way.
No matter what you believe or think, there will ALWAYS be people who do not like your viewpoint, who do not share your values, and who will reject you for the very things you stand for.
At the same time, there will be people like you rejecting those people and their views the same way. It’s a never-ending loop with no end.
Another way we say this is “You can please some people all the time, and you can please all people some of the time, but you can’t please all people all of the time.”
It’s ok to change your perspective or viewpoint on a subject, but this social phenomenon means you can’t just give up your values and beliefs to conform with someone who doesn’t agree with you. If you do, you will quickly find there are just as many people who don’t like your new views as didn’t like your old views, and now everyone has a reason to disagree with you.
Someone else not agreeing with you is not your problem to solve. They are entitled to their disagreement and they can have their feelings and opinions. Arguing over it will just be an exercise in frustration and wasting time unless both people are introspective and willing to examine their own views more closely.
As I’ve mentioned before and will mention again, life is short. Value your values. Believe in yourself and don’t apologize for staying true to yourself.
It’s ok for your values to change and evolve over time, but it’s not ok to give them up just because someone else wants you to think differently than you do right now.
On a side note, for a future letter, this same phenomenon is what attracts people to you. When you are vocal about your views to others, some will disagree, and others will align themselves with you. The ability to listen to other people’s views while protecting and promoting your own is what drives respect from your detractors and the willingness to follow your lead from others. Two sides of the same coin.
For now, I love you and I’m so proud of the sweet little girl you’re growing into. Can’t wait to give you a big huge SMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCHER soon!
P.S. If you are a reader of Ellie’s letters, comment below to tell her about a time where conforming to someone else’s ideas left you feeling untrue to yourself.
P.P.S. I am super excited to announce that there has been an influx of new subscribers to Start With A Dollar! Help me keep the momentum going by sharing this project using the link below.
P.P.S. What did the donkey do when he got cut off in traffic? Hee-Hawnked.
Share The Love!
Receive Ellie’s Letter By Email Every Sunday: SUBSCRIBE
Send your own letter to Ellie, and I may feature it on the blog!
Email your letter to:
dad @ startwithadollar.com